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Village’s vacant buildings need to be dealt with

November 2, 2011
WESTFIELD — What to do with empty buildings.

Village and Town Building and Code Enforcement Officer Jim Pacanowski brought up the issue at the Oct. 17 Village Board of Trustees meeting.

“This is a big problem,” Pacanowski said. “This is part of the economy.”

Some of the vacant buildings are houses, but others include commercial store fronts such as the Newsroom, the Portage Inn and a large apartment complex. Pacanowski is concerned about what has been left behind in those buildings and possible rat infestations or people breaking in.

The banks do not want to take ownership of the properties since it would then be liable, but it continues to pay the taxes on the property so that the building will not go back to taxes.

Village of Westfield Mayor David Carr asked if there was a sample code Westfield could act on. Pacanowski said he would look at other communities to see what they have done and how they are handling the issue.

“I think the board needs to address how we’re going to handle these,” Pacanowski said. “We’re going to see this more as our economy gets worse.”

In the public works report, Public Works Supervisor Ed LeBarron told the board the insurance company has finally declare the village’s 2007 F550 dump/plow truck totaled after an accident that occurred in July. Therefore, the board declared the truck, cab and chassis only, as surplus and another truck will purchased, but all of the dump and plow equipment will be transferred from the surplus truck to the new truck.

LeBarron also said the village will begin its leaf pick up Monday, Oct. 24 and explained why Spring Street paving will be postponed. The roads are still settling, so LeBarron does not want to pave them now only to have dips in the road after winter weather. He plans to start paving May 1, 2012.

The board heard that the 1990 dump truck was auctioned off for $3,750 and an old Chevy Tahoe police car for $1,200.

The waste water treatment plant reported that the pressing season has been going along quite smoothly and that all its basins are in service.

“It’s good to know that things are running right,” Carr said.

Additionally, a centrifugal blower in the waste water treatment plant that is no longer working will cost $9,917.63 for Hannon Electric Company in Painesville, Ohio to totally recondition the entire unit, so the cost is well within the $16,000 budgeted for this repair. The blower is expected to be returned in six to eight weeks.

Village Clerk Vince Luce reported that engineering for the three water projects — a storage tank, a 10-inch water intake and an exposed 10-inch line — has been reviewed and engineering can begin.

During public comment, it was shared the Westfield Winter Farmer’s Market is paying the new fee of $50 for the use of Eason Hall.

A new addition to the monthly agenda, the Board of Fire Commissioners will be giving a report when it has issues that pertain to the village board.

At the Sept. 19 Westfield Village Board of Trustees meeting, three Village of Westfield employees received the New York Conference of Mayors Recognition and Appreciation Award Certificates. The award is handed out to those who have worked for 25, 30, 35, and so on, years of working for the municipality. This year’s recipients for the village were Dean Mead for 30 with the village, current Westfield Fire Department Chief Randy Edwards for 25 years with the fire department and Everett Reynolds for 45 years for fire department. All three received a round of applause from those in attendance.

“Gentlemen, thank you for your service,” Carr said.

Also at the meeting, the board considered declaring ambulance no. 292 as surplus property. It has been loaned to three municipalities in need of an ambulance with Cassadaga as the current user since it has an accident with its ambulance. The request originally was to donate the ambulance to Ellery Center, but Carr envisions the money made from selling the ambulance to be set aside to purchase a new ambulance in the future.

“I just don’t like to give it away,” Carr said.

Edwards said he would like to see it donated to Ellery Center to be used for its rehab unit where it would be an asset to county and used county wide. After an hour on the scene of a fire or accident, responding personnel have to take a break and visit a rehab unit as mandated by the state. Currently, Ellery Center voluntary offers this service at no cost and only has a trailer which requires a vehicle to haul it. Westfield has used the Ellery Center’s rehab unit on two occasions so far.

“It’s really an asset to have something like that to help out with major ordeals,” Edwards said.

“The unit is a very important part of the fire service now,” Pacanowski said.

Village board member Dave Brooker suggested that since the ambulance still has value to the village, each department who would utilize it could chip in to purchase the ambulance for Ellery Center.

After the discussion, the issue was tabled until an estimated value for the ambulance could be determined.

The board also dealt with the following issues:

• The board gave permission to apply for a Justice Court Grant to make improvements in court’s office space. The money will most likely will be used to purchase a series of cameras. This is a joint grant application of the village and the town.

• The board authorized the mayor to sign a deed for property transfer for the West Side Pump Station. The village has entered into a deal with property owner Charles Hunt to buy a segment of his property to move the pump station. The new location is across the street from where the pump station currently resides.

“Seeing where the pump station is, if we don’t get it moved pretty quick, it’s gonna be down in the crick,” Carr said.

• The board approved an update to the Eason Hall rental application and reservation rules. In the past, the village has not charged for the use of the space, however, it has become a popular location to hold indoor events with some groups using it multiple nights each week. Thus, the cleaning and upkeep costs have increased and so now heavy users will pay a fee of $25 per day.

• The board approved a proclamation naming October as Fire Prevention Month.

• The mayor thanked the members of the fire department who assisted with the flooding in New York State. He said it was good showing of community effort and shared services.

• The police department reported 583 incidents, 26 vehicle tickets were issued and 25 arrests were made in the last month.

• Although Venn Blakely was not on hand to give the recreation department report, Carr mentioned the dedication of the soccer field at NorthLake Family Recreation Center in memory of Sgt. Kevin White.

“It just shows how a community can come together in a situation like this,” Carr said.

• Department of Public Works Supervisor Ed LeBarron gave an update to the village board on the Barcelona water issue. The biggest worry is contamination, he said, adding if the town does not start taking action, the village has grounds to force them to by giving them a time table.

“The system is failing at a vary fast rate,” LeBarron said. “It’s not going to be pretty.”

• The centrifugal blower in the waste water treatment plant is no longer working as it has seized up due to rust and is being sent out to Hannon Electric Company in Painesville, Ohio for repair.

• During public comment, an audience member spoke about the corner of Clinton and Maple Street. He said the corner is very dark and he asked for a street light to be put up on an existing telephone pole for safety reasons.

“It’s awfully dark down through there, hard to see,” he said. “A lot of people walk down through late at night, early in the morning, back and forth to work.”

Mayor Carr asked to have the issue looked into.

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Article Photos

Photo by Jenna Loughlin
Three Village of Westfield employees received the New York Conference of Mayors Recognition and Appreciation Award Certificates for 25 or more years of working for the municipality. This year’s recipients for the village were, from left to right: current Westfield Fire Department Chief Randy Edwards for 25 years with the fire department; Everett Reynolds for 45 years for fire department; and Dean Mead for 30 with the village. Standing behind the three men is Village of Westfield Mayor David Carr and Village Board of Trustee Rob Cochran.



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